I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. When I was in college, I set my mind to losing weight, and I lost one hundred pounds and kept it off for about five years. The stress of looking for a new work in the summer of 2000 caused me to start gaining some of that back. I ended up ballooning well above my heaviest in college.
A couple years ago, I went for a physical, and, not only was my weight out of control, but my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar were in dangerous territory. I set my mind to losing weight: I joined a gym and started watching what I ate and lost about 80 pounds. Resigning my preaching position and moving toward disability has brought new stress into my life, and I’ve gained some of that weight back. I’ve returned to watching my food carefully and I continue to swim; I also have some friends who hold me accountable on a weekly basis.
Today, I want to start telling you some things I’ve gained besides my weight. You see, yesterday, I wrote about some of the things my disability has taken away from me. But, in all honesty, I’ve gained more than I’ve lost. I’ve decided to take the DIS- away and talk about my ABILITY. We can choose how we go through this life – the Lord God gave man a choice from the very beginning; Adam and Eve could eat from the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (their choice). I’ve chosen to look on the sunny side of life. I’m not going to bellyache and cry; I’m going to live a good life and honor God every step of the way. I’ve known bellyachers and whiners in my ministry, and I do not want to be like that!
I don’t want to bellyache and complain, because God’s faithfulness shines on me in spite of my challenges – well, I really think God’s faithfulness shines in my life because of my challenges. God has a long history of blessing people in the midst of struggles. Abraham and Sarah found God’s faithfulness when He promised to bless them with a son in spite of their advanced age. Abraham’s faith grew when God tested him to offer up his only son. Paul learned to rely on God as he faced affliction in Asia. When the Lord refused to remove Paul’s thorn in the flesh, He blessed him with strength.
God has promised to bless us in our adversity. “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28). God is faithful. God will fulfill that promise. Listen, God is fulfilling that promise in my life over and over and over. I may have lost the ability to work full-time and the ability to jog and the ability to walk through the mall. But, God has given me far more than I could ever have imagined.
God has opened new doors for ministry. He has allowed me to empathize with people far more. He has allowed me to hone by backstroke (not that I’ll be competing in Rio, but I absolutely love swimming). He has enabled me to hear others preach. He has given me new friends. He has allowed my faith to grow. He has shown me how many people I have in “my corner” (and the number is legion). He has demonstrated faithfulness and shown me the generosity of His people.
The rest of the week I’ll take that list and expand on it – I really, really want you to know how good God has been to me in all of my adversity. I want you to understand that God will be faithful to you – He’s promised to be, and He never lies. Today, know that whatever struggle you’re facing God is there. Know that God is faithful. Know that God is walking right beside you. Be blessed!